March 4, 2014

Review: Everbound by Brodi Ashton

Everbound by Brodi Ashton
Series: Everneath, #2
Published: 2013, Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Purchased
Contains spoilers for Everneath (my review)
Goodreads · Amazon · Barnes & Noble

Confidentiality wasn't what I was worried about. I was more worried about the fragile dam I'd constructed around my heart over the past two months. It had taken me this long just to find a way to function. To stand without falling. To breathe in without sobbing. If I started to let those feelings out, I'd never stop; the broken dam would destroy everything around me, and I'd be back to where I was.

If I could only say one positive thing about Brodi Ashton’s works, it would be this: she really knows how to write a compelling ending. Seriously. I wasn’t impressed with Everneath overall, but that ending, coupled with the fact that I already had a copy of Everbound, motivated me to start on the sequel right away. And color me surprised, but I found Everbound to be a vast improvement over its predecessor.
After spending six months agonizing over her inevitable return to Everneath as either a human battery in the Tunnels or as a contender for the Everliving throne along with Cole, Nikki’s debt to Everneath is nullified. Right before the Tunnels claimed her, Jack sacrificed himself in her place. Now Nikki has to deal with the guilt that Jack is serving her life sentence.

As he was once her tether to the Surface when she spent one hundred years in Everneath, Nikki has now become Jack’s tether. While she’s asleep, the two of them can communicate, and she can help him remember who he is. But as Jack starts to lose his memories and Jack’s mother increases her search for her missing son, Nikki realizes that this cannot continue. She appeals to Cole to help her do something previously unheard of: journey to Everneath in search of the Tunnels, rescue Jack, and bring him (and themselves) safely back to the Surface.

First things first: Nikki will never be a favorite protagonist of mine. She’s all sorts of cliched. She’s beautiful (even in her currently emaciated state). She’s hurting (and apparently her hurt inspires others to make all sorts of sacrifices for her). She’s so caring (but I note that her care for others is conditional). Except when it comes to Jack. For him, Nikki will do just about anything and sacrifice anyone.

I mentioned in my review of Everneath that Nikki is generally a mess and acts like a teenager. I blamed part of my disconnect with her character on me no longer being a teenager myself. Perhaps that’s true to some extent, but reading Everbound revealed that I’m just not a fan of hers. Ashton tries so hard to make her likable and empathetic, but none of her characterization felt completely genuine to me. Fortunately, Nikki is not the sole character of story. This story (and series) is bigger than one person, and, based on the ending, this trend will continue.

Cole is really the scene-stealer in this series thus far. Of all the characters, he’s perhaps the most reliable. Reliable in the sense that readers can expect he’s always going to be actively looking for ways to improve his standing as an Everliving. That he will never give up on the possibility of Nikki becoming an Everliving and helping him bid for the throne of Everneath. And yet Cole is also enigmatic and complex: he may have a specific set of motives, but he’s willing to be a bit flexible in just how his means are accomplished.

Through two books now, I still don’t have the clearest idea of Jack as a character. In Everneath, he and Nikki are barely in contact with each other for a good percentage of the book. In Everbound, Jack is stuck in the Tunnels. His character is not as well developed as Nikki’s or Cole’s, but Ashton has spent some time developing the relationship between Nikki and Jack. I do like how Jack inspires Nikki to be better, and how rather than wallowing in her sorrow, Nikki actually takes action to save Jack. I wouldn’t quite call Nikki’s decision to rescue Jack a traditional role reversal, but I do think their relationship feels like a relationship between equals. They not only make sacrifices for each other, but seem to genuinely respect one another. That's always a good thing.

The confusing mythology and worldbuilding that I had complained about in my review of Everneath? Many of my questions have been answered here. Of course, it helps that a large portion of this book does take place in Everneath rather than on the Surface. I now know more about the Shades, the Tunnels, the Queen, and what roles they play in Everneath. References to mythology are also better handled and just made more sense as I started grasping the complexities of the world of Everneath. And the beginning includes a map of the various locations and rings that comprise this world (maps aren’t always the easiest things to access through ebooks, but it was nice knowing it was there).

I may not be in love with Nikki’s character, but basically every other aspect of this book was greatly improved. It’s a middle book in a trilogy, but it has a defined story arc that is concluded by the end of this book. Ashton has better defined her characters and this world. I only hope Ashton’s writing continues to improve by leaps and strides in Evertrue.

Rating: 3.5 stars

author image


Amanda loves few things better than sitting down with a cup of tea and a book. She frequently stays up far too late, telling herself she just needs to finish one more page. When she's not wrapped up in the stories of others, Amanda works as a children's librarian in a public library.


  1. I definitely felt as if this was the best novel of the trilogy, though we definitely see a LOT more of Jack in the sequel. I've had mixed feelings towards this trilogy as a whole, but I do think it's one of the better YA trilogies around. Wonderfully eloquent review as always, Amanda! :)

    1. Thank you, Keertana! And yes, this is the best book in the trilogy. I just finished writing my review of Evertrue earlier this evening, so I've been thinking about this quite a bit. But, hey, at least we got a good middle book out of this series.

  2. Well ... based on some of your comments I am very curious to see what you will think of the third book!
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

    1. Not so much a fan of it, to be honest. It's better than the first book and I *did* like how everything wrapped up. But I felt like it was missing something? Like Cole's personality? haha


Thank you for taking the time to comment! I strive to make my blog the very best it can possibly be and I appreciate each and every comment on here.